JOHNSON COUNTY (WSIL) — The Illinois Department of Agriculture is stressing the importance of harvest safety after two fatal accidents just last week. In northern Illinois a 66-year-old man died after falling into a silo, and a 9-year-old girl died when the car she was in crashed while attempting to pass a tractor.
Farmers in our region say, when you see farm equipment ahead, slow down.
"You gotta be awful cautious for traffic and things. Sometimes the traffic is nuts," said Belknap farmer Melvin Horn. He’s seen his share of impatient drivers, adding, "Some people don’t want to slow down for nothing. It’s, what do you say, ‘I’m in a hurry to get nowhere.’"
Horn has been a farmer for most of his life and says during harvest time, he’ll be on and off the field moving grain six or more times. He and his brother farm around 1,600 acres in areas just off Route 37. He says they move equipment every day.
"You’re on the road a lot," said Horn. "We aren’t on the main highway that much, most of ours is in the rural, county roads."
Farmers like the Horns are not alone. During planting and harvest seasons, motorists will see more, slower-moving equipment along the road. Southern FS plant manager Brady James says when you see farm equipment, slow down.
"People need to realize that there’s a lot of blind spots in farm equipment, most of the time it’s really hard to see right behind ya," said James. He adds, give farm equipment plenty of space. "The further back you stay from them the better off, the safer you can be, because we can’t see you if you’re right up on our bumper, if you’re tailgating us, the further back you are the better off you’ll be."
Farmers across the region have said this year’s harvest is down both in beans and corn. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports statewide corn yield fell 31 bushels per acre from last year’s record while soybeans fell 12 bushels per acre.